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TU Berlin

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“Natural” Metropolitanism: Environment and Sustainability

The connection between metropolitanism and environmental factors is manifested particularly palpably in the local consequences of global changes and dependencies. Given the growing scarcity of national resources, the effects of climate change, and the potential resulting crises and catastrophes, creating a functioning urban metabolism may be one of the greatest challenges facing metropoles today. Our graduate research program wants to take on these challenges by placing them in a historical context and drawing from the special conditions of urban space. How have environmental factors influenced the development of cities, what effect have they had on the living conditions of their denizens, and how have they shaped the city’s relationship to nature over the last two centuries?

The dependence of growing metropoles on global supply and disposal networks for their energy, food, and raw materials opens up a broad field of research in which to explore manifold transnational interconnections, past and present. With this approach the graduate research program intends to produce cutting edge research for the field of urban studies. In addition, the program will investigate the thesis that the metropolis is a central location of nature production. Finally, we will empirically address the question of the extent to which imperial imagination and, conversely, visions of catastrophe have been reflected in urban discourses on nature and the environment.

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